Top 5 dim sum 2013

Yes, the title says it all. As a big fan of dim sum, I’ve decided to dedicate this post to the top 5 dim sum restaurants in my heart, Singapore and overseas to round up the many dim sum restaurants I have been to this year. Having traveled around to quite a few countries this year to take a short hiatus from the never-ending work and as dim sum is always part of the itinerary, I would say that my list of dim sum restaurants is quite extensive.

Dim Sum has a really long history in the Guangdong province of China and whenever we mention that, we would think of Hong Kong as the capital of dim sum. However, I would reckon that dim sum has gone pretty ‘international’ as it has won accolades from both Westerners and Asian Oriental. This has resulted in many exciting dim sum restaurants springing up in any country that shows the slightest appreciation for it. Those cute, little petite yet elegant looking snacks can make one feel really satisfied and happy after a meal and most, regardless of culture, would not be able to resist it. Besides its presentation, the chef has to also be daring and creative in his otherwise traditional dim sum yet not neglecting its oriental taste. This, is I think a big challenge and is also a prerequisite for being one of my top 5 choices. So, lets take a look at the top five dim sum restaurants in 2013!

1. Lung King Heen 龍景軒 (Hong Kong)

LKH - 16

IMG_6092

Yeah, being the only 3 Michelin star Chinese restaurant in the world, Lung King Heen would definitely be one of my top five. As its dim sum are all perfectly executed, this restaurant is my top choice. I have been to Lung King Heen twice this year actually, once in July and the second time in December and both visits were marvelous. Why so? And the answer is simple but takes a long paragraph to describe. Succinctly, Chef Chan Yan-Tak is able to create different combinations of textures and excitement for all of his dim sum and I really admire how he makes his fried stuff not oily to the palate at all. As he chooses the freshest seafood as his ingredients, his outstanding dim sum would be the prawn, lobster and scallop siu mai (shown above) which is really heavenly. Texture and taste are both overwhelmingly delicious. Standing at No. 13 in Asia’s 50 best restaurant, this is indeed the top dim sum restaurant of my list!

2. Tin Lung Heen 天龍軒 (Hong Kong)

IMG_6204

IMG_6225

If you want to have a panoramic view of the whole of Hong Kong while nibbling on your dim sum, then please visit the peak Tin Lung Heen. Housed at the 102nd storey of the International Commerce Centre, I would reckon that Tin Lung Heen offers the most breathtaking view of Hong Kong. It is not all just about outer beauty as dim sum served here is also superb and cooked to perfection. Having been awarded two michelin stars recently, Chef Paul Lau ensures that his dim sum doesn’t disappoint. Not only are the freshest ingredients used over here, each dim sum also has its own character and unique taste. My favourite is the abalone pastry stuffed with roast goose as the roast goose makes the whole puff exceptionally fragrant. I can still remember the light peppery yet intensely fragrant roast goose fillings together with the springy, fresh abalone; a true decadence indeed.

3. Hakkasan / Yauatcha (London)

Hakkasan

IMG_4370

Yes, it officially is the 3rd spot in my list. Even the western London can come this far, it indeed has a very exciting food scene. Yauatcha and Hakkasan are both under the same organisation and their dim sum are basically the same. Every dim sum is exquisitely prepared and makes you crave for more. Soothing and memorable taste together with an elegant presentation is what these two restaurants are striving at. Having lived in London for several years, I came to realise that there really is a handful of Chinese restaurants serving good dim sum (So don’t complain that London doesn’t have good Cantonese food). But to find exceptional ones, then the one Michelin starred Yauatcha or Hakkasan would unequivocally be the choice in London.

4. Wah Lok 华乐酒家 (Singapore)

wah lok2 - 3

And finally, a really good dim sum restaurant in Singapore. I think I have been to this restaurant more than twice in the year. After the first visit, I knew that a revisit is a must for me to sample more dim sum! Wah Lok specialises in steamed dumplings as all her piping hot baskets of steamed dim sum always feature uniformly translucent and thin skin with really fresh, fragrant ingredients wrapped in it. Her baked dim sum such as the custurd bun is also one of my favourites as skin is super thin and flaky and custard oozes out upon the slightest bite. Try it one time and you will be addicted to this restaurant!

5. Crystal Jade Dining In (Singapore)

crystal - 9

crystal - 7

Another dim sum gem found in the centre of Singapore at Vivocity, Crystal Jade Dining In aims to deliver delicious and fresh dim sum. I believe that once the chef chooses to use the freshest ingredients, he has already won half of the battle. Crystal Jade Dining In serves the more traditional dim sum with some more interesting additions such as the prawn with shark fin dim sum shown above. I’m not promoting shark fin here as this dim sum still works for me even without that few strands of shark fin. With this gem being featured in CNN travel as the winner of the best dim sum restaurant, it’s really impossible to give this place a miss! Its popularity is evident when you need to book a week in advance to get a seat!

So, this is my list of the top 5 dim sum restaurants that I had in year 2013 and I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading it!

HKK London

HKK London

Worship street near Liverpool Street station

HKK London is one of the three restaurants helmed by the Singaporean chef, Tong Chee Hwee. The other two restaurants are Yauatcha and Hakkasan, which are both Michelin starred restaurants. It is a relatively new restaurant opened this year. Had the 8 course lunch menu for 48 pounds.

Image

Bai Hua prawn. Fried on the outside and tasty fresh prawns on the inside. Sauce was sweet and just goes well with this appetiser.

Image

Dim Sum Trilogy was really well presented with a brush and soy sauce though they were quite irrelevant unless you love heavy tasting food. The white one is lobster siu mai with caviar. You could taste the fresh, springy lobster in it. The orange one contains spicy chicken and tasted really flavourful too. Lots of different ingredients in it but all comes together to give a great dim sum. Continue reading

Min Jiang (London)

Min Jiang

Royal Garden Hotel

Near High Street Kensington

Image

Xiu Long bao was good but pretty normal. It could have been better if there was more broth in the small dumplings.

Image

The pumpkin dumpling with prawns tasted a little bland I thought and I couldn’t really taste much of the pumpkin. Actually felt like a normal har gau.

Image

Green vegetarian dumpling which tasted what we would have expected.  Continue reading

Royal China

Royal China

Baker Street

ImageChicken with Cashew nuts. Tender and flavourful chicken with crunchy cashew nuts. Not too oily and is really a good dish.

ImageReally yummy Sichuan prawns. The word sichuan usually reminds me of really spicy food and that never appeals to to me. but this dish is one that I never fail to order at royal china. Just so fragrant, flavourful and not too spicy. I think there is a little ketchup in it and together with some chopped chilis, the crunchy, succulent prawns tasted a little sweet and spicy. This is a dish not to be missed. Continue reading

Hakkasan

Hakkasan

Tottenham Court Road

ImageDim Sum platter. The steamed and fried dim sum were all marvellous even though i prefer eating steamed dim sum. The steamed spinach dim sum is filled with crunchy prawn, mushroom and topped with a rich and fragrant sauce, the dumpling is really delectable. The other steamed snack is filled with fresh prawns, mushroom, and some other ingredients which I can’t really remember but the whole combination makes it really flavourful. The skins for both are really different, while the green one is thicker, slippery and not sticky, the white one is a little stickier but thin and suit their themes well. The fried ones are equally rich and flavourful and doesn’t feel too oily.

Image

Noodles with prawns in it and sha cha sauce. Very interesting way of making dim sum I thought by using springy noodles and wrapping it over prawns. Sauce wasn’t too oily and fragrant while noodles are springy. Together with the succulent prawns in them, it is indeed a delicious dim sum. Continue reading